After a brief tease in the last episode, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova is back and in peak form this week, channeling all of her humor, sass, and deadly skills that audiences came to know and love in Black Widow. Kate Bishop is forced to grapple with the uncertain future of her childhood dreams to be a superhero like Clint Barton, while also faced with the looming threat of Yelena’s mission to take out her idol. And as the stakes continue to rise, Clint attempts to clean up his mess as Ronin, only to realize how dangerous the situation has now become.
Let’s take a closer look at the major takeaways from episode 5, “Ronin.”
Yelena and the Snap
The episode opens with a flashback to 2018, when Yelena was on her post-Black Widow mission to free her fellow assassins from Dreykov’s mind control. We learn that Yelena has helped many Widows at this point. It’s been a difficult journey, but it’s worth it.
When the Snap happens, she’s in the bathroom at a Widow named Ana’s house. We see her fade away into dust, only to reappear five years later following the Blip. Baffled as to how the house has suddenly changed around her in the blink of an eye, Yelena exits the room to find Ana now married with a child. Upon learning what happened, Yelena’s first panicked thought is that she needs to find Natasha. But she’s not yet aware of the sacrifice her sister made on Vormir to obtain the Soul Stone.
Dinner with an assassin
Following a reality check about her supposed future as a superhero, Kate goes to collect her belongings from the remains of her charred apartment. Yelena is there waiting for her … and she made macaroni! After some scolding about Kate’s lack of silverware, the two sit down and have a chat over dinner.
Kate remains wary as Yelena starts off the conversation casually enough, talking about all of the touristy things she wants to do in New York City. She needs to see the glorious Rockefeller tree, after all. However, when Kate asks her if she’s here to talk to Clint, Yelena corrects her and says that she’s come to kill him. The archer is shocked when the assassin reveals that she’s the sister of Natasha Romanoff, and Yelena goes on to question Kate’s hero worship of Clint. She believes that her sister is gone because of Clint, but the two remain at odds, because Kate refuses to back down in her support of him.
Jack Duquesne is caught
Kate admits to Eleanor that she and Clint have been looking into Armand’s murder, and she informs her mother that there’s incriminating evidence against Jack, including his shell company, Sloan Limited. She later returns home to find the police in their house arresting Jack. Eleanor tells her daughter that she looked into him, and she was right. Jack remains positive as he tells Eleanor that he’s been framed while they’re taking him away.
A running theme throughout the course of Hawkeye has been Clint’s guilt and pain over losing Natasha in Avengers: Endgame, and it continues on in this episode. Clint visits the Battle of New York memorial, which commemorates the place where the Avenges first assembled in 2012. He takes out his hearing aid, quieting down the noise of the busy city behind him, and he says a few words meant for Natasha. He reflects back on how she was the bravest of them all, loyal, and stubborn. And he says how he’s been doing his best every day to earn what she gave him — the ability to go home to his wife and kids. He tells her he misses her, and says he’s sorry for what he’s about to do.
Clint proceeds to fire an arrow into the windshield of a Tracksuit Mafia truck, which dispenses a note that says, “Maya, meet me tonight where you first met the Ronin. Alone.” We then see Clint give Laura a call to let her know how big of a problem all of this has become. It needs to end tonight, because it’s only a matter of time until the “big guy” gets involved.
Maya and the Tracksuit Mafia wait for Ronin in the parking lot of the car dealership. Ronin incapacitates the Tracksuits one by one until he finally approaches Maya. The two go at it for a bit until Maya falls to the ground, and Ronin removes his mask to show her who he really is: Clint Barton. He tells Maya that he wanted her to see his face. She thinks he’s going to kill him, but he corrects her and tells her that will only happen if someone comes after him or his family. Clint goes on to explain that they’re both weapons, but her rage is what makes her misguided.
Clint tells Maya that on the night of the murder, he was there because an informant that works for her boss had tipped him off. Her boss wanted her father dead, and now he’s using her. Maya manages to get the upper hand, grabbing Clint’s sword, but an arrow comes flying and knocks it out of her hands. Kate stands on a rooftop off in the distance, having tracked Clint’s phone again after leaving him an endless series of unanswered voicemails. After they escape, Kate informs Clint that the assassin was Natasha’s sister, Yelena. He looks shaken. They return to Grills’ place, because he had been insistent that there was no way Clint Barton was staying in a hotel on Christmas.
Meanwhile, Maya finds Kazi after the fight, and he’s relieved to see she’s still alive. Suspicious, Maya asks him why he wasn’t at the meeting the night that her father died. He was his number two, after all. Kazi tells her that he didn’t get the call about the meeting, and Maya takes off.
Kingpin is revealed
A brief scene is shown where Yelena is following Eleanor. Then, Kate receives a series of text messages from an unknown number — Yelena. She tells her that she found out who hired her … Eleanor Bishop. She thought she deserved to know. Kate then shows Clint a photo of her mother pictured beside the man that Clint’s been worried about this whole time, Kingpin. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is back.